Different Ways of Knowing

You might recognize the passage from Vine Deloria below. It’s part of our internal evaluation metric for your paradigm shift. But right now we’re only looking at the part of Deloria’s passage that comments on Indigenous ways of knowing as compared to the Western epistemic system.

“We have reduced our knowledge of the world and the possibility of understanding and relating environment to a wholly mechanical process. We have become dependent, ultimately, on this one quarter of human experience, which is to reduce all human experience to a cause-and-effect situation. As Indians look out at the environment and as Indians experience a living universe, relationships become the dominating theme of life and the dominating motif for whatever technological or quasi-scientific approach Indian people have to the land” (Deloria 1999: 225-226.)

This link opens the webpage “Ways of Knowing” in a new browser tab. Please read that page, and then explore the pages there about different ways of knowing that are part of Tapestry’s main website. You can find those pages using the table at the very bottom of that main “Ways of Knowing” page, or you can use the links listed here for your convenience. Each page links to another page that applies that particular way of knowing to an example subject of tornadoes to help you comprehend it.

These “Ways of Knowing” pages ground the core of Tapestry Institute’s mission to advance Indigenous Knowledge, so they’ve been on our website with only slight editing (and periodic reformatting) for more than 20 years. These pages are open to the public whereas the exercise you’re working through isn’t, so the Ways of Knowing pages don’t link back to any of the pages of this exercise. Just close those browser windows and return here at some point to continue.

Questions to facilitate your conceptual weaving process:

Which of the Ways of Knowing laid out in the Sacred Circle model seems equivalent to the “one quarter of human experience” based on “cause-and-effect” that Deloria says is the only way of knowing accepted by Western culture?

Where do you see relationship as a factor in one or more of the different Ways of Knowing as they are modeled here?  What is the nature of the relationship you see?

Click here to return to the list of pages at Weaving the Basket.
Click here for list of References.